FutureQuest, Inc. FutureQuest, Inc. FutureQuest, Inc.
Knowledgebase: Spam/Email Filters
How can I prevent spam complaints against my web site?
Posted on 22 November 2003 03:30 AM

As someone who sends email, it is your responsibility to ensure that any email you send, or any email sent by someone promoting your web site, does not generate "spam" complaints.

Spam complaints can damage your site's reputation, resulting in loss of visitors and/or business to your site, and can also result in network blockades and loss of connectivity from upstream providers. These consequences can also extend to the service provider of the site or domain. For these reasons, and also because FutureQuest® must comply with the AUPs of its upstream providers, the FutureQuest Terms of Service prohibit the sending of any type of unsolicited electronic messages affiliated with FutureQuest® hosted sites.

FutureQuest® has collected some suggestions here, which will help prevent complaints against your site and domain. These suggestions are a good starting point. In case you need further assistance and suggestions, we have also provided links to additional resources. You may also wish to consult the specific suggestions for Responsible Mailing List Management.

  • Publish an easy-to-locate Privacy Policy on your web site, letting visitors know what data you collect and how it is used.

  • Publish a complaint address to which concerns and complaints about your web site and domain should be sent. This will hopefully give you the first chance to address such issues, before they are reported to FutureQuest® or FutureQuest's upstream providers.

  • Do not collect, or "harvest", email addresses off of directories or web sites for the purpose of solicitation. As the email is unsolicited, many recipients of mailings sent to addresses obtained in this manner will likely report it as spam, even if the solicitation is related to the topic of the web site or directory.

  • Do not use third party web sites, their forums, web forms, or other similar media, for promoting your own site, unless this is clearly the purpose of the medium. When such media are used for purposes other than intended by their provider, especially for solicitation or promotion of services and products, complaints of abuse and "spamming" may arise.

  • If you are considering hiring a third party marketing service to advertise or promote your site and its services or products be sure to research the service thoroughly. When a company you associate with is the subject of spam complaints, your domain and site may also be affected by complaints.

  • If you form any type of business relationship with other online entities and these associates receive spam complaints, your domain and site may also be affected. Choose partners and associates carefully. Research such online entities before entering into a relationship with them to determine whether they know and practice responsible email management and Internet promotion methods.

  • If your site does receive spam complaints as a result of a third party's actions, whether the third party is an associate of yours or not, take swift action to rectify the situation. Communicate with the third party promptly and insist that they take corrective action, including removing your domain from any offending emails or promotional materials.

  • Keep in mind that any email promoting your domain, web site, or email addresses, can lead back to you. Regardless who has sent the email, whether you, a business associate, or a stranger, if the email generates complaints against your web site and domain, you will need to take the necessary actions to stop them. Educate your business partner, terminate your relationship with uncooperative parties, and contact the service providers of third parties who will not desist. This may require you to investigate the source of the email and report it. In extreme situations, it may require legal action.

Resources for Further Tips and Suggestions:

TRUSTe's Privacy Library
American Express' Online Privacy Guide
Best Practice in Email Spam Prevention and Eradication
Principles of Best Practice - Webmasters / Web Designers
The Responsible Net Commerce Site: Some good ways to market on the Internet